27,272 lbs. That’s how many pounds of throwaway drink containers that Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful estimates its volunteers have removed in 2021 alone—all of which could have been spared if reusable products such as those made by YETI had been used instead.
As Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful hits its first-time milestone of 80,000 lbs. of trash removed from the Tennessee River watershed within a year, YETI has committed $10,000 to become the title sponsor of the organization’s goal to remove 125,000 lbs. of trash in 2021.
“The litter pulled at our river cleanups is a visual call to make a change in how we as Americans consume our beverages,” said Kathleen Gibi, KTNRB executive director. “We’re so proud for our river cleanups to be lined up with our new partners at YETI, who offer instant solutions to some of the most prevalent litter we encounter.”
Originally, KTNRB’s goal was to remove 100,000 pounds of trash in 2021, but the new support from YETI is allowing that target to be extended to 125,000 pounds. The announcement comes during ‘Plastic Free Month,’ which is celebrated in July.
Ms. Gibi estimates 70 percent of the trash bags that volunteers fill consists of throwaway drink containers, noting that as a very modest estimate. As of their most recent cleanup held on June 26, KTNRB volunteers had removed at total of 1,948 bags of trash in 2021.
“Waste industry experts promote the practice of ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle’ in that exact order, and reusable products like those offered by YETI happen to hit the first two points of that model,” said Ms. Gibi. “It’s small changes in our daily habits that will make the difference.”
Though the Tennessee River is renowned for its beautiful scenery and generates an estimated $12 billion annually in the recreation industry alone, a study released in 2019 by German scientist Dr. Andreas Fath found the Tennessee River to be the most microplastic-polluted river in the world studied to date.
“As a brand that was born on the water, helping to protect waterways and the wild has been an important part of YETI’s mission since 2006,” said Jennifer Silberman, vice president of ESG at YETI. “We’re proud to support the incredibly important work that the KTNRB team is doing and hope these efforts ensure future generations can continue to appreciate and enjoy the Tennessee River for years to come.”
YETI tags itself as a global designer, retailer, and distributor of innovative outdoor products, helping its customers to eliminate unnecessary waste by designing durable, versatile, and reusable options that replace the need for single-use products. The company has committed to many efforts that help protect the natural environment its customers enjoy.
In 2016, YETI became the official partner of the Kick Plastic Guide Outfitter Program along with
Costa Del Mar and WorldCast Anglers to reduce and eliminate single serve plastic water bottles
from outfitting trips and camps.
YETI is also a member of the Plastic Impact Alliance, a group of over 225 outdoor brands committed to making the industry more sustainable, one bottle, one cup at a time. Through this initiative in June 2019, YETI promised to reject single-use plastic bottles at an Outdoor Retailer convention. In the first year of the commitment, YETI served 5,631 people with 1,320 gallons of water, resulting in a conversion of more than 14,000 twelve-ounce plastic bottles saved during the 2019 Outdoor Retailer show.
Now, YETI is supporting and helping to create awareness for Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful’s river cleanup efforts, at which volunteers remove thousands of littered, single-use plastic items from local waterways. Each year, KTNRB hosts dozens of river cleanups within the seven-state Tennessee River watershed, taking volunteers on the organization’s 26-foot aluminum work boat to
clean shorelines and coves.
Hosting cleanups since 2016, Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful became the first Keep America Beautiful affiliate in the nation to focus solely on a river. Just last month, the organization hit a lifetime milestone of 250,000 pounds of trash removed since its formation, thanks to the help of more than 2,000 volunteers.
To learn more about Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful, visit www.KeepTNRiverBeautiful.org.